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An Innovative Idea: Analyst comes up with a way to improve recruiting process

AF Reserve Recruiting

Master Sgt. Karl Perron, AFRC Recruiting Service, noncommissioned officer in charge of mapping, goal development and production analysis, was the AFRC nominee for the Analytic Innovation Award. The tool he deveoped, which is on his computer, allows AFRC RS to fairly classify recruiting zones based on a variety of objective data. (Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chance Babin)

“Nothing will propel a company further than a culture of innovation: an atmosphere that inspires employees, every hour they’re at work, to seek out innovative opportunities,” -- Micah Solomon, a leading expert on company culture.

Throughout the history of the United States military, innovative ideas have come from within the ranks, often as a necessity. As an example of how important innovation is to the Air Force, leadership is currently pushing a program called Airmen Powered by Innovation, which rewards Airmen for innovative ideas that save time and money for the Air Force.

For Master Sgt. Karl Perron, AFRC Recruiting Service, noncommissioned officer in charge of mapping, goal development and production analysis, his innovative idea came to him as a way to improve a process and make it fairer for recruiters across the board. Little did he know his idea would lead to some pretty hefty recognition.

Perron was the AFRC nominee for the Analytic Innovation Award, which recognizes individuals or teams that create a compelling new or cutting edge analytic capability or methodology that provides significant benefit to the analytic community, Air Force, joint force, or Department of Defense. The award is given by the Air Force Studies and Analyses, Assessments, and Lessons Learned directorate, better known as A9.

“Typically the nominees come from the major command A9s because most of the analytic capability resides in the A9 community,” said Lt. Col. Terence Kudo, A9 lead operations research analyst. “However, we at AFRC widened our scope realizing that other organizations are also doing studies and analysis as well. We wanted to give them the opportunity to compete for an Air Force-level award.”

The fact that Perron resides in recruiting and won this prestigious A9 honor is a remarkable achievement on its own, but the fact that he is an enlisted member is the part that makes this an even more noteworthy distinction.

“There really isn’t a corresponding enlisted career field to the 61A operations research analyst career field,” Kudo said. “In fact, I asked AF A9 if they had some kind of analytic award specifically for enlisted members. Their response was that they typically don’t get any enlisted nominees for these awards.

Perron recognizes the exceptional nature of this honor.

“I was extremely proud to have been the AFRC nominee,” Perron said. “It was particularly satisfying as I was competing with officers who had far more training, formal education and experience in analytics.

The tool Perron created allows AFRC RS to fairly classify recruiting zones based on a variety of objective data, such as recruit age population, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery scores, prior military population and the number of wing vacancies the recruiters have available to fill.

“The classification is tied directly to an annual goal (accession requirement) that is assigned to the recruiter responsible for that zone,” Perron said. “We recently increased our recruiting classifications from three tiers to 10, which allows us to spread out the recruiting goal more fairly. For each tier up or down the goal increases or decreases by two.”

Under the old system the goal would increase or decrease by four which can be a month’s worth of production for a single office. Under the old three-tier system some offices were over or under goaled because there were only three goals to choose from.

“The bottom line is the goals are much fairer, and the goal is determined by objectively calculating the accession capability of the recruiting zone,” he said.

(Babin is noncommissioned officer in charge of public affairs for AFRC Recruiting Service at Robins AFB, Georgia.)